Summertime for many families often means long road trips. Some use the summer break to visit family or go on vacation, and a road trip is still typically the most affordable travel medium for families. If you’re getting ready to embark on a long summer road trip, check out our guide of dos and don’ts for a safe and relatively easy trip.
Do: Safety Check the Car Frequently
Safety is always the priority when traveling with family, and on a road trip, that means checking the vehicle frequently. Summer roads and highways are more congested, and the hot weather and asphalt can be brutal on your vehicle. So every time you stop, conduct a quick safety quality check on your car to ensure it’s holding up well.
Checking and correcting tire pressure is critical for summer drivers, as steaming-hot roads can degrade your vehicle’s tires faster if you haven’t inflated them properly. Hot roads can eventually cause punctures and blowouts. Also, monitor your vehicle’s fluids during the trip, as the summer weather can dry them.
Do: Pack Treats and Activities
When traveling with kids in a car for long stretches, keeping them entertained and behaving in a cramped enclosure can be a maddening challenge. Packing a bag full of treats and activities is a strategy that works for many families.
Even little kids can get bored of watching videos or movies on a tablet or smartphone, so packing some magnet games, art supplies, travel bingo, and other road trip activities can keep children from getting fussy on a trip. Also, a bag of tasty snacks and treats is useful for getting children to be on their best behavior for long stretches.
Don’t: Plan Every Little Detail
We understand that it’s common for many parents to want to plan everything, especially on road trips. Some come with a full itinerary with a full route planned, a schedule of stops, timetables, and a strict budget.
While planning is useful, don’t be afraid to leave some room for spontaneity on your trip. You may see a state park you didn’t know about that’s perfect for a lunch break picnic along the way. Often, it’s the unplanned moments with kids that are the most rewarding, so stay flexible!
Don’t: Push Yourself Too Hard
Another common issue for many parents and road trippers is pushing themselves to the brink to reach their destination on time. While no one likes being cooped up in a car for a long day and wants to end the trip as soon as possible, pushing yourself or the driver too hard can be dangerous.
Taking breaks to stretch your legs, breathe fresh air, and get some serotonin via the sun can do wonders for your mood and energy. If you’re feeling groggy late at night, pull over at a motel and get some shut-eye. Don’t assume you can guzzle some caffeine and be all right.
We hope our list of dos and don’ts makes your next summer road trip not feel so long! But remember that no matter what you do, kids are unpredictable and may not always cooperate. Being a parent is all about rolling with the punches!